According to a previous report in the New York Times, the production will have music by Johann Strauss Jr. adapted by Jonathan Tunick, with a book by Richard Nelson and lyrics by Ellen Fitzhugh. It is adapted from the Joseph Roth novel "The Tale of the 1002nd Night," a work inspired by the Shah of Persia’s visit to Europe in 1873. In an interview with Prince, he is quoted saying that the musical centers on a Middle Eastern ruler who travels to Vienna in search of romantic "inspiration," and the machinations that occur when he demands a rendezvous with a noblewoman who turns out to be the empress of Austria. He is reported describing the first act of the show as "a self-indulgent male chauvinist relationship," while the second act follows "a bunch of discoveries" that result from the Shah’s demands.
Patinkin, who will play the Shah's eunuch, was last seen on the West End stage when he presented his solo show Mandy Patinkin Concert at the Duke of York's Theatre in Jan. 2009. He was previously seen on the British stage in an Almeida Theatre run of his solo show in 1996 and before that in the world premiere of Born Again, seen at Chichester Festival Theatre in 1990, with a score by Jason Carr and direction by Peter Hall. He was last on Broadway in 2000 when he starred in Michael John LaChiusa's version of The Wild Party at the Virginia Theatre. He also previously originated the roles of Archibald Craven in Lucy Simon's 1991 musical The Secret Garden, Georges/George in the world-premiere production of Sunday in the Park with George in 1985, and Che in Hal Prince's 1979 production of Evita (Tony Award). He also took over the role of Marvin in the Broadway version of William Finn's Falsettos. He has brought his solo shows to Broadway on a number of occasions, appearing in Mandy Patinkin: Dress Casual at the Helen Hayes Theatre in 1989, in Mandy Patinkin in Concert at the Lyceum Theatre in 1997, and in Mamaloshen at the Belasco in 1998. He is also known for his roles in the TV series "Chicago Hope," "Dead Like Me" and the first two seasons of "Criminal Minds." His film credits include "The Princess Bride," "Yentl," "Men with Guns" and "Dick Tracy."
Prince and Stroman are reunited for the first time since Prince directed the 1994 Broadway revival of Show Boat that Stroman choreographed. Prince previously directed the original productions of both Andrew Lloyd Webber's Evita and The Phantom of the Opera in the West End before they transferred to Broadway. Stroman previously originated the choreography for Trevor Nunn's production of Oklahoma! at London's National Theatre before that production transferred to Broadway.
According to London's Daily Mail, several actors – including John Cullum, Shuler Hensley (Judd Fry in the Nunn/Stroman Oklahoma! at the National and on Broadway), Kate Baldwin and Judy Kaye, took part in readings of the show in New York, and deals are being negotiated to bring them to London.
Booking is yet to open.